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posted by martyb on Friday May 30 2014, @03:33AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the helping-people-feel-better dept.

Researcher Jose Carmena has worked for years training macaque monkeys to move computer cursors and robotic limbs with their minds. He does so by implanting electrodes into their brains to monitor neural activity. Now, as part of a sweeping $70 million program funded by the U.S. military, Carmena has a new goal: to use brain implants to read, and then control, the emotions of mentally ill people. This week the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, awarded two large contracts to Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of California, San Francisco, to create electrical brain implants capable of treating seven psychiatric conditions, including addiction, depression, and borderline personality disorder.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by redneckmother on Friday May 30 2014, @03:48AM

    by redneckmother (3597) on Friday May 30 2014, @03:48AM (#49001)

    And so, the Manchurian Candidate was born...

    Mas cerveza por favor.
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @03:49AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @03:49AM (#49003)

    It's happening.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by c0lo on Friday May 30 2014, @04:24AM

    by c0lo (156) on Friday May 30 2014, @04:24AM (#49011) Journal

    Next feeling on the control list? Let me guess... dissent?

    What do I care for your suffering? Pain, even agony, is no more than information before the senses, data fed to the computer of the mind. The lesson is simple: you have received the information, now act on it. Take control of the input and you shall become master of the output.

    Chairman Sheng-ji Yang, "Essays on Mind and Matter"

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by edIII on Friday May 30 2014, @04:55AM

      by edIII (791) on Friday May 30 2014, @04:55AM (#49014)

      Yeah.... that was ... ominous. Ominous is the word I'm looking for here.

      My first thought was more arguments from school district fascist whackos. You're abusing your kid because he was diagnosed with depression, ADHD, bipolar, etc. bullshit at a young age and they want to implant something in his brain and you have the audacity to say no.

      That's just terrifying. Waking up in a re-education camp with a shaved scalp and stitches. You're not even entitled to your feelings anymore.

      "Happiness brought to you by the Tyrell Corporation"

      Technically, lunchtime is at any moment. It's just a wave function.
      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @02:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @02:10PM (#49151)

        Orwell was an optimist.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Common Joe on Friday May 30 2014, @05:34AM

    by Common Joe (33) Subscriber Badge <> on Friday May 30 2014, @05:34AM (#49024) Journal

    [Sarcastic Rant]

    It's very kind for our military to be investing $70 Million in "controlling the emotions of mentally ill people". I thought they were into waging effective wars, not in medical research or thought control. Let me read the article. Oh... the article says it's for helping our veterans. They say "The U.S. faces an epidemic of mental illness among veterans, including suicide rates three or four times that of the general public. But drugs and talk therapy are of limited use". Well, in that case, wouldn't it better to actually find ways to properly spend our current budget to help our veterans [] before spending that kind of money on this kind of research?

    [/Sarcastic Rant]

    • (Score: 1) by kumanopuusan on Saturday May 31 2014, @04:28PM

      by kumanopuusan (2575) on Saturday May 31 2014, @04:28PM (#49616)

      For the sake of argument, let's agree that the US military and everyone involved in it is evil. Even in that case, evil organizations can still do good things when it's in their own interests. This seems to be one of those cases. They genuinely want to fight mental illness among veterans because 1) they have to pay for treatment, 2) it's terrible PR when veterans aren't upstanding members of society, which then affects funding and recruitment, and 3) healthy, sane veterans can be reservists, which again decreases costs and improves the ability to fight wars.

      It truly may help veterans and the research will probably be applied to medical treatments with civilian applications. Feel free to whinge about the motivations of the Department of Defense, but don't piss on good news simply out of shortsightedness.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @11:57AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @11:57AM (#49110)

    Since we're reading this shit off a .aspx page hosted at, obviously, what could possibly go wrong? /snark

  • (Score: 1) by cellocgw on Friday May 30 2014, @02:59PM

    by cellocgw (4190) on Friday May 30 2014, @02:59PM (#49172)

    I find your lack of happiness... disturbing.

    I have changed your brain. Pray I do not change it further.

    Physicist, cellist, former OTTer (1190) resume:
  • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Friday May 30 2014, @03:56PM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Friday May 30 2014, @03:56PM (#49191)

    "Imagine if I have an anti-government thought" says Carmena, who is a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, and involved in the UCSF-led project. “We could detect that feeling and then stimulate inside the brain to stop it from happening."


    That is the deepest fear. People can go all altruistic on something like this; "We can fix addiction, we can fix depression, we can fix happiness, we can remove hate" while others, more in a position of power can say "we can fix behavior, we can change how you feel about us, we can control you". Given the direction government is going, can we really trust anyone with this type of process. One day MLK is walking down the streets of Birmingham protesting segregation, the next week he is standing next to governor Wallace praising his efforts to help keep blacks safe, but separate. A little hyperbolic true, but if you can effect a leader, most sheep will follow.

    The military would love this with just a little adjustment in timing

    Darin Dougherty, a psychiatrist who directs Mass General’s division of neurotherapeutics, says one aim could be to extinguish fear in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Fear is generated in the amygdala—a part of the brain involved in emotional memories. But it can be repressed by signals in another region, the ventromedial pre-frontal cortex. “The idea would be to decode a signal in the amygdala showing overactivity, then stimulate elsewhere to [suppress] that fear,†says Dougherty.

    Instead of waiting for PTSD they just implant as SOP. The beginnings of Universal Soldier.

    I am not warmed by this article.

    The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @04:53PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 30 2014, @04:53PM (#49202)

      Think how it could be used to help the economy!

      "I feel like ... going shopping!"

  • (Score: 1) by islisis on Friday May 30 2014, @05:53PM

    by islisis (2901) on Friday May 30 2014, @05:53PM (#49224) Homepage

    as is always the duty for the rest of us, the onus is now to recycle military technology for the aide of the people, and not their confinement.

    of course, AI will never truly process human feelings before processing their own...